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Netflix reduces video quality in Canada to lower internet bandwidth use

Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 4:58 pm MDT

The Netflix logo is shown on an iPhone in Philadelphia on Monday, July 17, 2017. Netflix is lowering video quality for its subscribers in Canada as the streaming giant attempts to reduce soaring demands on internet bandwidth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke

TORONTO — Netflix is lowering video quality for its subscribers in Canada as it attempts to reduce soaring demands on internet bandwidth.

The streaming giant says it will introduce changes today that are designed to slash its data traffic by 25 per cent as internet service providers deal with a surge in user activity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lower bandwidth streams of Netflix programs should still deliver the usual quality of each plan, the company said, whether it’s ultra-high definition 4K, high-definition or standard definition.

In a blog post last week, the company’s vice president of content delivery explained that Netflix has many different levels of streaming quality for each title within each resolution tier. With the changes, Ken Florance said Netflix is simply removing the highest bandwidth streams from the platter of options.

The move comes as telecom companies see a rise in data usage while Canadians self-isolate at home and use streaming services more frequently than usual.

Netflix has already introduced bandwidth measures in other parts of the word over the past two weeks. Similar reductions in video quality were made in Europe, India, Australia, New Zealand and some Latin American countries.

The company says it plans to maintain the lower bandwidth measures in Canada for 30 days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 26, 2020.

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David Friend, The Canadian Press